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Knife crime offenders to be fitted with GPS tags

ELECTRONIC TAGS: The location of knife crime offenders in four London boroughs will monitored as part of new licence conditions

A NEW pilot will see knife crime offenders subject to GPS tagging once they are released from prison, the mayor of London has announced.

The tracking devices will be fitted to up to 100 offenders in a bid to reduce them reoffending.

Those who have served a custodial sentence for knife-related crimes such as knife possession, robbery, GBH and aggravated burglary, will be tagged with a GPS tracking device as part of strict new licence conditions from February 18.

Sadiq Khan said: “Violent crime in London is unacceptably high, and the Metropolitan Police commissioner and I are doing everything in our power to crack down on violence and knife crime. The causes of violent crime are extremely complex and involve deep-seated problems – such as poverty, inequality, social alienation and a lack of opportunities for young people – that enforcement alone won’t solve and have been made much worse by huge government cuts to the police and preventative services.

The pilot will operate in four London boroughs that are among those most affected by knife crime – Lewisham, Lambeth, Croydon and Southwark – for one year.

Offenders tagged as part of the scheme will have their movements automatically checked against the locations of reported crimes. Significant matches will be shared with local police.

Alice Burrows, a probation officer from London Community Rehabilitation Company, who has worked extensively with GPS as part of the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime’s (MOPAC) current pilot said: “I have found GPS tagging hugely beneficial, not only for the police and probation services, but more importantly it does act as a deterrent to offending. One of my service users regularly comments on the fact that having the tag on has deterred him from offending because it makes him think twice about his actions.”

She added: “It is also a good use of technology that can help the police quickly rule a person out of inquiries because of access to location data.”

The pilot scheme was announced ahead of the mayor’s meeting with the Home Office’s serious violence taskforce today.

Khan will be providing an update on the work of the violence reduction unit, which takes a public health approach to tackling the capital’s serious youth violence problem and diverting young people away from such crimes.

“In London, we are leading the way on pioneering enforcement work to tackle violent crime. The Met Police have confirmed that we are starting to see the results of that work, with a reduction in the number of knife injuries in under 25-year-olds during 2018. This innovative pilot will build on the good work of the City Hall funded Violent Crime Taskforce by helping offenders integrate back into society and reducing the risk of reoffending, as well as giving the police the information they need to thoroughly investigate reported crimes,” he said.

Last week the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that fatal stabbings in England and Wales has reached a record high.

There were 285 homicides as a result of the use of a knife or sharp instrument during the 12 months to the end of March last year, figures from the ONS show.

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